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Smoking Musket Tailgate Menu: TCU, Featuring Stockyard Cuts

This is the biggest game we’ve had at Milan Puskar Stadium since last season’s game against Oklahoma State. It’s time to pull out the stops. That’s right, we’re barbecuing.

LSU v West Virginia Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

There are four Big 12 teams in Texas. There are two types of foods that define Texas cuisine: beef and Tex-Mex. We can’t do anything exclusive for any of the schools, so we’ll mix it up. Now, we ventured into the Tex-Mex range last week against Texas Tech, but this week, we’re foraying into beef barbecue. We’re also including some Tex-Mex dishes.

BBQ Beef Short Ribs

I have to admit, I’m a barbecue snob. I have very real opinions and feelings about barbecue and its varying styles. Before we go any further, y’all need to understand something: barbecuing is a style of cooking that involves low heat and long cooking times, grilling involves direct, high heat and short cooking times.

Now that I’ve said that, I’m going to make a controversial statement here: Texas barbecue is the third-best style of barbecue. Now, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Actually, it means it’s very good because my two favorite styles are very near and dear to my heart. Texas barbecue is great because, for the most part, it lets the meat do the talking. I firmly believe that essential to good barbecue is showcasing the meat and the cooking process.

Beef short ribs are a no-brainer when it comes to Texas barbecue, especially when talking about Fort Worth. The Fort Worth Stockyards are where the meat packing company and cattle sales take place. This is as Texas as Texas can get. Let’s welcome our friends (sic) from TCU with great, smoked beef ribs.

Now, the secret to these, as I hinted above, is to let the meat do the talking. Here are my three VERY important secrets to any good barbecue:

  1. Always rub your meat at least 8 hours before your cook it. The spices and the meat have to get acquainted before they start making the magic that is barbecue.
  2. When it comes to beef, it’s OK to give it a heavy spice coating. The bark on the outside is better on beef and the meat can stand up to a heavier spice rub.
  3. Do. Not. Rush. Anything. Barbecue is all about time, lots of it.

I’ve included a recipe and a video, because who doesn’t love looking at meat being smoked? There are two methods to smoking ribs. The first is to just let them smoke standing up on a rib rack. The second is to lay them flat and mop them with a sauce every now and then. It depends on what you want to get from the meat, but I’d suggest the second method cause it’s a little more eater-friendly.

Pro tip: The Texas Crutch. This is recommended for professional smokers or for those who just don’t have the time for the whole smoking process. We are in the latter group.



Jalapeno Poppers

Starting the Tex-Mex theme that the Dallas-Fort Worth area is known for, we have these well-known delicious snacks. These have the benefit of being handheld and easy to make. The filling is relatively inexpensive and jalapenos are also pretty cheap.

These are also great to grill, so you get a good char while melting the cheese filling into and over the jalapeno.

Pro tip: Prep and clean the jalapenos and the filling the night before, so you can start cooking them as soon as you get to the tailgate.


Black Bean Salsa

Texas pretty much feeds the nation. With a long growing season and varying climates in the state, it can grow a variety crops. This salsa highlights several of them with a Tex-Mex flair and it a really fresh dip for your tailgate.

The key ingredient to this is fresh chopped cilantro. Don’t use dried leaves. Actually, all of the ingredients should be a fresh as possible, save the canned black beans.


Texas Margaritas

Honestly, I feel like margaritas could be used for every menu involving a Texas team, but this one makes sense. Go to Dallas and you will probably find a great Mexican restaurant serving great Texas margaritas. However, a Texas margarita includes orange juice and orange liqueur. I think you could just buy a bucket of margarita mix, add some OJ and orange liqueur, but here’s a from-scratch list.


There are some complicated parts to this menu, but, as always, I stress prepping before Gameday. I promise you that barbecuing is not hard to do, but it’s hard to do well. But use a good rub and take your time cooking it and you’ll be fine. Other than that, make sure you show up early and that you’re well-lubricated for the 3:30 p.m. kickoff.